MUMBAI: The legislation asking large companies to spend two per cent of their profit on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is appreciable, but large companies should not stop there, stated Rodney Irwin, Managing Director of World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Redefining Value and Education programme.
These large firms should look at making their businesses sustainable by integrating the concept of environmental, social and governance advantages into the core business, he added.
Free Press Journal reported that recently, Irwin was in Mumbai along with 47 participants from 33 global multinational companies (associated with WBCSD) to learn about sustainable businesses in India. This is the first time WBCSD Leadership Programme has visited India since 2011. It is a year-long series of engagements and learning exercises in partnership with Yale University.
He praised the 2 per cent CSR mandate but he felt that this should not be a replacement to core values. “At WBSCD, sustainability is not about giving away money or doing good things, but it is about integrating the concept of environmental, social and governance into the core business.” Irwin, has visited India on several occasions, stated in India
it is about re-evaluating the business model to make sure that the firms are delivering the products and services in a responsible manner. He highlighted the need for sustainable approach, at the same time maintained the need to be profitable. He added, “Profitability is vital as no business can be sustainable if it is unsuccessful.
If businesses are environmentally and social responsible but cannot make money then they are not sustainable as they will be out of business eventually.” He asserted profitability is a necessity and it should not to be looked down up on. “In long-run, profitability can be greater if you embrace opportunities that accompany sustainable approach.”
Large companies—like Tatas, Godrejs, Birlas and Reliance—in one way or the other have family connections. Looking at Indian companies, Irwin claimed, “The companies that have family connections tend to not just make the businesses successful but they want to make sure that the business can be passed on to the next generation.They have a long-term vision.” The Leadership Programme led by Irwin taking place this year, has few participants from many such family-owned businesses. “Family-owned businesses are driven by the personal connection that the family members have to such business.”